Sunday, May 15, 2011


JC is a drill master. In every play or musical in which he performs, he wants every line to be spoken by him, exactly as it was written.

Before learning the lines, quite often he'll reformat the script on his computer so that the lines, minus the stage instructions, make a page. He even arranges the page breaks so that his lines are not broken up.

Memorizing, he tackles a section; reading, re-reading many times before he goes into the "drill" mode. He makes a rehearsal tape on a hand-size, mini-cassette recorder. Drilling himself, he speaks each "line" aloud, then checks it on the tape. Then, he does the section again, with the taped voice at a low volume, but loud enough to hear any mistakes.

JC, the stickler, rehearses in his office. Then he moves into the studio (it's a small theater space), and works through the section again. Often he works upstairs, in our kitchen.

Right now, John's learning lines for two Shakespeare plays that are being rehearsed and staged in a 12 week rehearsal span -- "All's Well That Ends Well," and "Measure for Measure." If I didn't know him, I'd think he was obsessive, overly fussy, a fanatical stickler.

In every other kind of work, he's relaxed, happy-go-lucky, an easy-come, easy-go sort of guy. However, when he's memorizing lines, well ... I have to say John Cullum is "A nut!"

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